News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

August 19, 2022

Manitoba Government Announces Inter-Facility Transport Service to Provide Appropriate Care for Low-Acuity Patients, Free Up Paramedics to Respond to Higher-Acuity Calls

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New Service to Reduce Demand on Paramedics and Support Patients in Brandon, Selkirk and the Winkler/Morden Area: Gordon

The Manitoba government will invest in dedicated service to transport low-acuity patients as part of ongoing efforts to improve health-care access for rural Manitobans, Health Minister Audrey Gordon announced today.

The initiative will see one or more successful proponents – selected from a request for proposals issued by Shared Health today – transport hospital inpatients and personal care home residents from the Brandon, Selkirk and Winkler/Morden areas to medical appointments, diagnostic tests or for treatment.

“The transport of low-acuity inpatients to and from health-care facilities can be a prolonged process that takes ambulances in rural Manitoba out of service for hours,” said Gordon. “Establishing a transport service specifically for these patients will reduce the demand for paramedics to complete these journeys, allowing them to remain in or near the community for emergency calls.”

Low-acuity transport was recently piloted in a few communities and will now be formally established with base locations in Brandon, Selkirk and the Winkler/Morden area. Each base location will serve a wide catchment area within each health region and include trips to Winnipeg for care, with the intention of growing the service to other communities in the future, said Gordon.

Ambulance services outside of Winnipeg have historically been used to complete all inter-facility transports, primarily because patients and clients often need the benefit and comfort of being transported on a stretcher. Low-acuity patients and clients typically do not require any clinical care provided by the attending paramedic crew.

The realignment of emergency response services (ERS) under Shared Health helped to identify the provincewide need for a low-acuity inter-facility transport service similar to one that has been in place for several years in Winnipeg.

“In most inter-facility transport situations, the patient or client will not require ongoing clinical supports during their journey,” said Dr. Rob Grierson, chief medical officer for emergency response services, Shared Health. “Creating a low-acuity transport not only offers patients the right kind of care during their transport, it frees up highly skilled paramedics and ambulances to respond to emergency calls and high-acuity transports.”

This new service builds on Manitoba’s commitment to invest in emergency services including:

  • establishing a centralized team within Shared Health to co-ordinate provincial recruitment of ERS personnel,
  • reducing ambulance fees by 50 per cent to make emergency care more accessible, and
  • investing in new emergency medical service stations including recently opened sites in Portage la Prairie, Selkirk and Crystal City.

Proponents are able to submit proposals to provide the low-acuity inter-facility transport service for one or more communities, the minister said, adding the service is anticipated to be in place by the end of 2022.

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